Who Decided to Commemorate the Walking Purchase and Why: 1920s Fanfare and Local Opposition | Friends of the Lehigh Libraries talk, Wed., Apr. 6

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The Friends of the Lehigh University Libraries invite you to join us on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. via Zoom for Who Decided to Commemorate the Walking Purchase and Why: 1920s Fanfare and Local Opposition, presented by Dr. Andrea Smith, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Lafayette College.

The Walking Purchase of 1737 was a controversial land deal between the Pennsylvania proprietors and four Delaware (Lenape) leaders that granted the proprietors over 700,000 acres in the Lehigh Valley and beyond. Delaware participants protested the transaction before, during, and after it occurred, and these protests led to official inquiries in the 1750s. This background was well-known by the early twentieth century, when historical accounts often described it as the “shameful,” “notorious,” or “controversial” Walking Purchase. Why, then, did the State of Pennsylvania develop four historical markers to this event in the 1920s? Dr. Smith will explore the cast of characters involved in this curious case of public history making, the opposition they confronted, and their motivations for staging grand public celebrations in 1925.

About the speaker:

Dr. Smith’s research and courses focus on social memory and collective silencing, public history, and colonialism. Her publications include Colonial Memory and Postcolonial Europe: Maltese Settlers in Algeria and France (2006); and Rebuilding Shattered Worlds: Creating Community by Voicing the Past (2016). She is completing a book on monuments to settler colonialism in Pennsylvania and New York.

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session led by Boaz Nadav Manes, Lehigh’s University Librarian. This event is free and open to the public.

Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Sponsored by The Friends of the Lehigh University Libraries.